14. Linguistic and social predictors of copula use in Galician Spanish

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Although the two copular verbs,<i>ser</i>and<i>estar</i>&#8216;to be&#8217;, have been the subject of extensive debate in theoretical linguistics (Fern&#225;ndez Leborans 1999), less in known about how the use of these two verbs varies from one Spanish-speaking region to another. The sociolinguistic research conducted to date (de Jonge 1993; D&#237;az-Campos &amp; Geeslin 2004; Guti&#233;rrez 1992; Silva-Corval&#225;n 1994;) has shown that, in contexts where both copulas are allowed, some features (e.g., adjective class, frame of reference and susceptibility to change) can affect the degree to which one copula is favored over the other. We have recently begun to extend this body of research to the Spanish spoken in Spain and found that while several linguistic factors predict copula use in the Spanish spoken in Galicia (Guijarro-Fuentes &amp; Geeslin, forthcoming), our results showed less of an effect for individual variables. In the current study, we seek to further explore the Spanish spoken in Galicia and the individual characteristics related to language use and language learning by expanding our participant group (N=155 in total) to include a less homogeneous population. Our participants include a group of monolingual Spanish speakers residing outside Galicia to whom our bilingual participants will be compared, and a group of Spanish speakers in Galicia (N=73) who vary in degree of bilingualism, language learning histories, and language use profiles. Each participant completed a background questionnaire and a Spanish contextualized preference task. The data were coded for copula choice (the dependent variable) and several independent variables describing characteristics of language learning and language use. Our results show significant effects for gender, occupation, the first language of the participant's mother, and the language normally used by the participants.


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